Hello... I've been having quite a lot of problems lately. I've just been feeling really empty, even when I'm with people I love or totally content. It's been going on for a little more than a year, and I've tried to deal with it through writing -- which I love -- and cutting. I've only cut once and my mom found out. I haven't since; I've just written about my feelings, but lately, words haven't been coming out at all. It's looking like a better and better idea to cut myself again, even though I keep telling myself that I need to stay strong. Then there's my other issue... In the form of my friend; my best friend that I've known for about eight years. We're both girls, and I've recently noticed that I really like her -- in the mind set that I'd like her to be more than a friend. I've kept it quiet, but she found several poems on my iPod and asked me about them. I came up with a lie and we're still friends, but she also told me she's actually had a crush on me in the past! I'd have been elated, except for the fact that she now has a huuuge crush on my brother. Basically, I've been super confused on the subject of whether or not I like boys and girls, and I'm scared of asking my mom for advice (as she's closed-minded about these things, especially when it comes to her having grandchildren or not). Anyway, I'm sorry for rambling -- thank you very much for listening!
Thank you for trusting us with your situation and reaching out to us; that is no easy task. You are wise to monitor that urge to cut. Congratulations for being able to use your gift as a poet to channel this urge into a positive healthy expression. Good Work! You are not alone. When some people are confronted with extreme levels of stress, they may engage in self-harming behaviors, including substance abuse, self-starvation, and cutting. For some, cutting relieves stress or tension. Some people find the physical pain of cutting distracts them from the emotional pain. Some people may be angry at someone in their lives. Cutting themselves provides a means of expressing that anger. Others feel cutting gives them a sense of control while experiencing overwhelming situations or emotions. Still others feel numb or "dead inside". Cutting helps them “feel alive”.
While cutting may provide temporary relief, it can cause permanent scars, infections and serious, even life threatening medical problems. It can also cause one to feel shame, guilt, depressed and out of control. If you feel like cutting, there are a number of ways to help yourself feel better without putting yourself at risk. Think about how you feel before and after you cut yourself. If cutting helps to release anger, you might try getting the anger out in another way; hitting a pillow, stomping around in heavy shoes, ripping up old newspaper, or flattening aluminum cans. If cutting helps you express sadness, think about healthy alternatives; listening to music, calling a friend, or drawing/painting. For some people, doing something physical like running outdoors or yoga can help relieve stress. If the cutting counteracts numbness, do something that creates a physical sensation; tapping your fingertips in circular motions upon your skull, putting your hand briefly in ice water, or stamping your feet on the ground). There are websites available including www.safe-alternatives.com and http://www.helpguide.org/mental/self_injury.htm that can help you learn about cutting and alternate coping mechanisms. Cutting can be a difficult habit to break.
Telling a trusted adult can provide you with support in seeking assistance. If you’re not comfortable talking with your parents, you could ask a school counselor for help finding a therapist or call 1-800-DON’T-CUT where you can be referred to a therapist in your area. When you have the urge to cut, you can always call the Trevor lifeline at 1-866-4-U-Trevor (1-866-488-7386) and talk with a Trevor lifeline counselor. They can also assist you in finding a therapist. Talking about the thoughts or feelings behind the impulse to cut may help to delay or stop the urge to harm you. Regarding how you’re feeling about your best friend, it’s common to develop romantic feelings for a best friend. You have a shared history. You get along. It is completely natural to want to be closer, more intimate. As you indicated, she had a crush on you as well. So, it seems there was some common chemistry and interest.
Everyone goes through a period of discovery regarding their sexuality. Being confused and having questions are a normal part of that process. In trying to understand your sexuality, it might help to remember that sexual orientation involves emotional, romantic as well as physical feelings and attraction for people of both genders (bisexual), people of the same gender (lesbian and gay), and people of the opposite gender (heterosexual or straight). It can also help to think about who you have crushes on and who you fantasize about being with girls, boys or both. On www.bisexual.org you'll find a lot of helpful information on bisexuality. If you click on resources, then bisexuality-general information, then "Bisexuality 101 from PFLAG" you can find information that may help. On http://www.advocatesforyouth.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=730&Itemid=177 you'll find the brochure "I Think I Might Be Lesbian...Now What Do I Do?" which may help you with your questions about your sexuality. PFLAG’s (Parents, Families & Friends Of Lesbians & Gays) “Be Yourself: Questions for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Youth” at http://www.pflag.org/fileadmin/user_upload/Be_Yourself_TT.pdf can be of further help as you try to understand your sexual orientation/gender identity.
Remember that there's no rush to figure this out. Vayn, if you are uncomfortable speaking to your Mom, you could speak with another trusted adult, a teacher, a school counselor, perhaps another close relative. Trevorspace, at www.trevorspace.org, is the Trevor Project's safe, online social networking site for LGBTQ young people ages 13 to 24 their friends and allies. It's a great supportive community where you can connect with others who might have had or are having the same questions that you’re having about your sexuality. We are here when you need us.